Japan has demanded the soonest release of the 10 fishermen arrested by Russian coast guards on January 27 onboard the Iosimaru-38 crab fishing trawler, said Tateo Kawamura, the general secretary of the Japanese government.
Russian coast guards seized a Japanese schooner in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation on suspicion of illegal fishing, Colonel Natalia Rondaleva, a spokeswoman for the Primorye branch of the Border Service of the Russian Security Service (FSB), told Ria Novosti. According to Rondaleva, the captain of the Japanese boat was unable to produce documents testifying to the legal origin of the catch on board.
Rondaleva noted that the commander of the Russian patrol boat had ordered the schooner escorted and its captain to set course towards one of the Primorye ports for further investigation.
“No member of the crew has health problems. On humanitarian grounds, we have demanded their earliest release,” Tateo Kawamura reportedly told the Kyodo Tsushin news agency.
Japanese FM confirms seizure of fishing boat.
At the same time, the fishing company Iyosi Suisan, which owns the trawler, said that “the fishermen had finished fishing in Japanese waters and had dropped anchor. They then realized they had drifted into Russian waters. When they returned (to their original stationing spot), they were thoroughly inspected by Russian services.”
“There was no fact of illegal fishing,” the company’s head said. “But we have been unable to reach agreement with the Russian side,” he added.
According to Kyodo Tsushin, the Iosimaru-38 has reached Nakhodka.
The Japanese consul has dispatched officials to Nakhodka to make sure the 10 Japanese citizens are in good health.
The Iosimaru-38 left the port of Sakai in the Tottori prefecture on January 24. It was scheduled to fish crab for a week before returning to its base port.